Fiction vs. Reality — Writers In Real Life

There is a common joke between my friends and family that I — a 24-year-old woman — voluntarily chose to have a twin-size bed in order to fit a mammoth desk into my Brooklyn bedroom. Yes, get all the laughs out! I have come to accept that I’ve been cursed to have perpetually tiny beds for the rest of my life. To be honest, my desk might actually be the same size as my bed. That’s how small my bed — or how large my desk — is depending how you view the situation.

When I moved to New York, I knew in order to push myself as a writer, I’d need to create a space I enjoyed spending hours at. Someplace uncluttered, and large enough that two cats, my laptop, my 17 notebooks, and an entire book collection could coexist comfortably. And in the past two weeks, I’ve probably spent about 89 percent of my time sitting at this desk writing about everything: My hero Anita Sarkeesian being named one of Times 100 most influential people; the importance of studios supporting fanmade content on YouTube; the “ABCs of LGBT;” the misadventures of one my favorite YouTubers ever, and roughly a billion other projects for YouTube.

And after sitting in my office chair so long my butt has morphed into the shape of the cushion, I’m here to bring you the real deal — fresh off the presses! — about what is myth and what is fact when it comes to being a writer.

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Myth:

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First off, there is no way a writer could afford this amount of space and this amount of light. Light costs money out here in the big city, ain’t no one getting nature’s blessing for free! I’m lucky if my pasty Irish skin even sees the sun when I’m on a deadline, thus I declare this an urban writing myth.

Fact:

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Instead of floor to ceiling windows and a cashmere sweater to lounge in, I spend my writing time arguing with my writing assistants seen above and wearing a Kermit the Frog baseball cap. I can usually get about an hour of focused writing time before one of the cats starts pushing my laptop off the desk in order to make more nap space.

Myth:

Two words: Carrie Bradshaw.

Fact:

When I was originally deciding which college major to pursue, I was drawn to the writing world because of the hefty salaries, stable job market, and the fact that newspapers had the life expectancy of a Twinkie.

None of this is true. And I hate to point fingers, especially at a character I love so deeply, but these misconceptions are definitely Carrie Bradshaw’s fault. If only a person could write a weekly column for a tiny New York newspaper and make enough money to rent an apartment on the upper west side, eat out for every meal, and buy over 200 pairs of designer shoes. Instead, I spend most my freelance money supporting my local coffee shop, who in turn supports my caffeine habits. Impressed yet kids? This is what dreams coming true looks like.

***

Myth:

Write drunk, edit sober. — Ernest Hemingway

Or as Hemingway demonstrated in his real life: Write drunk, edit drunker.

Fact:

I don’t even kid myself anymore by thinking I’ll go grab a beer with friends and then come home and write the next great American novel. Instead, I’m coming home, putting on pajamas, watching as much Broadchurch as my beer brain will allow, before I knock out and accidentally drool on a cat sharing my pillow.

***

Myth:

Your life will be an extension of Eat Pray Love. You’ll take writing retreats from French villas, fall in love with sexy Scottish men, and spend nights taking gondala rides in Italy and contemplating who you’ll thank first during your Nobel Prize speech.

Fact: 

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Myth: 

You’re either an amazing writer or you aren’t.

Fact: 

There are very few people that are naturally talented at writing, that’s the honest truth. For everyone else, talent comes through hard work and writing nearly every single day. And it will come, as long as you’re dedicated to putting in the time and effort to make each piece better than the last.

***

Myth:

Since you’re such a great writer, your family will insist you write ALL of the group birthday cards.

Fact:

Actually this is a fact.

***

So write on your beautiful dreamboats and may dreams of 401Ks and brand new Moleskine planners sing you to sleep.

 

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One thought on “Fiction vs. Reality — Writers In Real Life

  1. Pingback: My Tools For Overcoming Writer’s Block | The Curious Case of Carly Christine

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